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CII endorses underage marriage

Updated May 22, 2014 08:40am


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Maulana Mohammad Khan Sheerani, chairman of the Council of Islamic Ideology. —File/ INP
Maulana Mohammad Khan Sheerani, chairman of the Council of Islamic Ideology. —File/ INP

ISLAMABAD: Amid criticism from various quarters, including some of its own members, the Council of Islamic Ideology (CII), on Wednesday endorsed its earlier ruling that girls as young as nine years old were eligible to be married, “if the signs of puberty are visible”.

The CII meeting, chaired by Maulana Mohammad Khan Sheerani of the Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F), also said that most of the clauses of the existing Muslim Marriage Law, 1961, were un-Islamic.

Talking to reporters after the conclusion of a two-day CII meeting, Sheerani criticised the Sindh Assembly, the media and ‘some other segments of society’ for not taking the council’s decisions seriously.

On March 31, the Sindh Assembly passed a resolution demanding dissolution of the CII and on April 28, the Sindh Child Marriage Restraint Bill, 2013, was enacted, which stipulates strict penalties for all parties that compel underage individuals to enter into marriage.

“The primary responsibility of the council is the ‘Islamisation’ of the country’s laws and those opposing our decisions need to reconsider their position,” Sheerani said.

Concern expressed over plight of vulnerable groups

The CII chief said marriages that were solemnised at a time when both individuals were minors were only binding if they were arranged by the wali (father or grandfather) of the two individuals. In cases where marriages were solemnised by someone other than the wali, both individuals had the option to refuse or reconsider upon achieving adulthood.

Clarifying the decision, Sheerani said that a nikah could be performed at any age, but the bride could only start living with the groom after reaching puberty.

He said laws that defined a minimum age for marriage were not Islamic and should be repealed, adding that the council would recommend that parliament amend these laws to bring them in accordance with Islamic principles.

Sheerani also said that section 6 of the Muslim Marriage Law, 1961, which required men to seek permission from their wives before contracting another marriage – was not in accordance with Islamic principles.

The CII had taken up the issue in an earlier meeting held on March 11, 2014, and after detailed deliberations, the points under discussion were finally endorsed on Thursday.

These decisions came even as other council members voiced serious concerns. “Who wants to know when a young girl can be married or not,” a CII member asked rhetorically. “Anybody who wants to marry a second or third time could manage to get permission. This is not an issue of public interest,” he told Dawn on condition of anonymity.

Another member said some of the more serious issues pending before the council were ignored. “We have to discuss a code of conduct to end sectarianism, the Protection of Pakistan Ordinance, the conduct of the electronic media and so many other issues, but this marriage law business has been a waste of time,” he said.

Under the Constitution, the CII chairman is the decision-making authority and he is entitled to overrule wishes of all members, if he so chooses. The CII’s decisions are not binding on parliament, but are treated as the guiding principles around which policy is generally framed.

In the same meeting, the council called for a complete ban on the sale of alcoholic beverages in the country. “Since alcohol is prohibited even by other religions, it should be banned for other religious minorities too,” Sheerani said.

On Wednesday, CII also unanimously approved a resolution presented by Maulana Tahir Ashrafi, calling upon the judiciary to look into family law matters as per the dictates of the religious beliefs of both parties.

Civil society condemns

The CII diktat drew the ire of civil society and human rights activists.

“Women and children are the most vulnerable groups in the country – if such legal cover as a minimum age prohibiting child marriages are done away with, then exploitation of women and children will increase,” Human Rights Commission of Pakistan Chairperson Zohra Yousuf told Dawn.

The head of the National Commission on the Status of Women (NCSW) was of the view that the Muslim Marriage Law had been successful and that it needed to be implemented in the true sense, instead of being quashed.

“The law was formulated after two years of research and deliberation by the scholars of all sects – so if any cleric wants to change the law, he is essentially challenging the wisdom of these ulema,” said NCSW Chairperson Khawar Mumtaz.

Published in Dawn, May 22nd, 2014

Comments (102) Closed

a former Pakistani May 22, 2014 09:01am

Shame on these Mullahs and shame on us Pakistanis to tolerate these uneducated Mullahs,

SHB May 22, 2014 09:04am

Send Mr Sheerani to a school where he is taught history and modern technology . He is trying to take us back 1000 yrs . What is his own education?

Guest May 22, 2014 09:25am

I'm sure he can print a certificate saying he has a degree from a madrasa.

AKA May 22, 2014 09:36am

Maulana must know doctors in Pakistan. They will give fake medical certificates related to puberty of under aged girls. Maulana this is time of fake people so adapt stratigies that ensure implementation of Islamic Rules and don't give chance of manipulation to corrupt people.

Hamza May 22, 2014 09:39am

Girls of nine eligible for marriage, wow, seems like being in dark age.

Rainman May 22, 2014 09:39am

He is merely repeating the results of 2 years of research by the CII. Don't shoot the messenger. Its more important to determine if centuries old customs are compatible today or not and if they can be discarded in order to be more civil as per societal norms of the day. Once it is clear that we should not dig out age-old man-made customs to be imposed on today's society then CII should be asked to change its modus operandi. Otherwise, CII will become irrelevant and loose its function granted by the constitution

PostMan May 22, 2014 09:45am

As expected, the clergy focused on the 'physical' and not 'mental' maturity aspect of a girl. Had clergy focused on mental development then Islamic society in general and Pakistani in particular would have been a much better place.

Sid May 22, 2014 09:47am

Dear Mr. Respected white beard man! what does shariah says about dacoity, murder, giving flase statements etc? Can you push govt to enforce punishments for these first and then look into CHILD MARRIAGE issue? Am sure that will make our society a better place ...

Nizamuddin Ahmad Aali May 22, 2014 09:56am

In my opinion, the CII council members should be elected member like parliament. They should have some half way decent education and a formal training in law should be preferred. This job is not for a imam but is for the future of the nation. Sherani sahib is out dated ancient mullah.

Lloyd May 22, 2014 10:15am

It seems like the Mullahs are making laws to fulfill their appetites

Jalal May 22, 2014 10:20am

Is the girls marriage age and men's second and third or further marriage is the one and only problem Pakistan facing currently?

abdul sami May 22, 2014 10:28am

can someone control these Mullahs ? they have nothing better to do then pushing country to dark ages. Why we never hear anything from them in regards to tolerance, condemnation of violence and peaceful dialogues? People and Government is too scared to speak against them. What a shame

Azam May 22, 2014 10:30am

This has nothing to do with Islam. The beauty of Islam is that it has adapted to different lands and through different eras. Polygamy occurred after war to provide women protection because they were widows and earlier marriages occurred because of the cultural norms and rights accorded to women at that time. Pakistan's foundation rests on an all inclusive, progressive version of Islam so the maulvi should know better than to say such things. Neither blind secularism nor blind theocracy are right paths.

Talat H May 22, 2014 10:32am

such ignorance and backwardness

Hassan May 22, 2014 10:40am

So a group of old men whose facial hair gives them faux legislative prowess are condoning child molestation. A man who is attracted to a prepubescent child needs to be incarcerated and undergo therapy. Some of the language used in the quotations of these saints is downright revolting.

Ahmad May 22, 2014 10:40am

This maulana, whole Jamiat ulema islam and whole deoband school of thought has always dragged muslims into controversial and uncivilized issues. Shame on them.

Zababdraz May 22, 2014 10:41am

I would like to marry his 9 year old daughter or grand daughter. Will he agree to my proposal ? I am 100% sure no.

Nipun May 22, 2014 10:48am

Verily these mullahs belong to Jurassic age. Wish we could arrange time travel for these beards so they could exchange their holy ideas with the dinosaurs.

anil May 22, 2014 10:51am

Really Islamic ideologies are world class , out of world . Burn this man's beard.

Injunjoe May 22, 2014 10:51am

wow pakistan, acche din aane wale hain. congrats on this path to progress. please note sarcasm.

ravi May 22, 2014 10:52am

Whatever CII is telling is as per islamic ideology. But they are speaking half truth, Islamic marriage requires consent of the girl, how on earth a small girl of nine year old can have a sensible understanding of marriage and decisions assosciated with it. You just don't read part of Islamic ideology and make decisions which are violating the basic Islamic principles which are for good of all including women. This is big problem in muslim world they read part of the holy quran and start giving decision on Islamic teahings.

sami ullah swati May 22, 2014 10:56am

I am just stuck...Shame that in Pakistan we can have legalization of as early marriage of girls as 9. Wish I could telephone Shirani and argue with him, alhtough I know in our culture, arguments are not favored at all at least with the religious leaders. And this partly emenates from the belief of the Mullahs that they have divine knowledge and authority. My daughter is 10 and I cant imagine what this Shirani imposed on Paksitani girls of her age or even a year younger....Hope some sanity previal in Pakistan.

Ahmad May 22, 2014 10:58am

kindly remove him from this post, because this type of moulana no need to lead.

Iftikhar-ur-Rehman May 22, 2014 11:00am

Will this white bearded mulla give hand of his 9 year old daughter / sister to someone of his age or for that matter any adult? Mostly older-men like him and pedophiles go for young girls. I have very serious doubts if he will agree.

malik May 22, 2014 11:04am

These maulanas are only concerned with children getting married and second and third and fourth marriage. They need some psychiatric treatment.

Omar May 22, 2014 11:10am

Pakistan is a very interesting study for sociologists for how people themselves destroy a state within.

Omar May 22, 2014 11:11am

@Nizamuddin Ahmad Aali In my opinion there is NO NEED for this CII circus act.

Omar May 22, 2014 11:12am

Honestly state and religion cannot coexist.My way of gloryfying Lord or not is my personal matter which has no bearing on my affairs with the state.

Sunil May 22, 2014 11:14am

Scary nation, Pakistan where people who see girls as young as 9 years old as machine.

Iqbal khan May 22, 2014 11:22am

Pakistan need an Ata Turk

Falak May 22, 2014 11:22am

I dont want to share this country with these awful awful people. Imagine the trauma that 9 year old girls go through when they are married. Does Islam endorse that kind of torture on 9 year olds. Do we want to see our 9 year old daughters forced to have sexual relationships even if by chance they do have 'signs of puberty'. Yeh kahaan ka aur kis ka Islam hai?

Tariq May 22, 2014 11:32am

It is strictly quoted in Quran that marriage age of girl is when they are mentally mature. This is about 16 to 17 years. These Mullahs don't believe in Quran. What sort of Sharia they want.

SAP May 22, 2014 11:38am

What Mr. Sheerani or CII want to get out of this inhumane logic???

Mian Shahid Mehmood May 22, 2014 11:43am

IJMA AND IJTIHAD, allow the Muslim Ulema and legislatures to make any law, which is not repugnant to Quran and Sunnah. I don't think fixing marriage age for boys and girls in an Islamic Country violates any injunction of Quran and Sunnah.

SharifL May 22, 2014 11:46am

Good night, good night my teen age daughters My linguistic power has no power The enemy is illiterate.

qamber ali May 22, 2014 11:48am

one. muslim family laws were promulgated in early 1960s (1961?) and this is 2014. shows whether we have progressed or regressed in our social, cultural, legal, human rights, religion, its up to the readers to judge. two, if these mullahs have their say in these matters then what is the use of parliament? elected after spending a huge amount on the election process, and then these elections are always challenged as rigged

AKA May 22, 2014 11:59am

What if a girl reaches puberty before 9 ? Ask Maulana what is the average age of reaching Puberty in Pakistan after all this is CII of Pakistan so before giving such rulings they must be having all stats.

jasim khan May 22, 2014 12:04pm

regardless what law they can write, unless there is execution and enforcement what's the point? even if they make the minimum age to be 18 i doubt people or 'men' will stop doing these shameful practices. The parliament cannot even make decent laws for defending rape victims let alone enforce; in what way can they protect children if they cannot even protect adults?

M.M.Sherazi May 22, 2014 12:05pm

The message is very clear, Islam places no restrictions on marriage age and achieving puberty has been defined as the marriageable age for women. The mixing of personal opinions with emotional approaches with Shariah should be avoided and restrained. We have been given Qur

Ali Mirza May 22, 2014 12:10pm

Disband this useless waste of tax money council.... our country burns yet these mullahs want to marry 4 underage girls... what a farce

Shahbuddin Md. Lahore May 22, 2014 12:21pm

Very good Cave Mullahs, go back to your caves, leave the civilized society once for all.

Sarcastic Muslim May 22, 2014 12:24pm

Dear Molana Sahib, may I ask for hand of your daughter in marriage who may be underage right now?

I am a devoted Muslim, I am only 42, I colour my beard every week, I have all my hair, I pray, and I will follow every command that you, my future father in law will give, and I shall give you at least 6 grand children to be proud of, because a hakeem is my best friend.


Your Khadim,

A Mullah loving Muslim

PS: please read everything backwards... if you can read English ..

Mira May 22, 2014 12:36pm

Has this Sheerani Mullah a 9 year to offer for marriage to someone?

Mira May 22, 2014 12:43pm


They are disgusting creatures who have brought so much shame to the country. Take all their 9 year old daughters / grand daughters and marry them with very old men to give them a dose of their own medicine.

jen May 22, 2014 12:44pm

@Azam Ok, if this old guy shows in Quran that is has been revealed like what he said, are you going to change your stance or not? If you have the guts to say that, in this case, Quran/Allah is wrong , then pakistan has hope. Otherwise, it is already doomed.

Salman May 22, 2014 12:49pm

@Zababdraz Thats what I was about to say. Oh no!!!, I should have proposed her first

Khalid May 22, 2014 01:00pm

The country is burning at both ends and these dirty old men can only think about young girls?.

A Rehman May 22, 2014 01:21pm

The guy is right.

haris May 22, 2014 01:49pm

When Ali R.A came to Prophet Muhammad pbuh with a marriage proposal to Prohphet's daughter Fatima RA. Before Ali R.A could speak a word out Jibrail A.S. revealed to Prophet the purpose of Ali's visit. He (Jibrail) also informed Prophet that Allah has given you the permission to bind these two souls together with Allah's blessings. Prophet informed Ali that I know why you came here, but despite Allah's will in favor of this marriage, Prophet said to Ali that he first consult with his daughter Fatima RA if she is agreed upon or not?

That was the 'Islam' during the time of Prophet Muhammad, I don't which Islam we are discussion now days.

Nuur Hasan May 22, 2014 02:00pm

CII is a part of JUI-F. JUI-F have been closest allies of PPP and ANP since 1990. Dont blame Mullahs - blame the system. Everyone is in on this.

Ahmed May 22, 2014 02:33pm

Thank goodness CII's recommendations are not binding.

Laeeq,NY May 22, 2014 02:58pm

These mullahs are only worried about the young girls marriage. Instead of voicing against the sins plaguing the society like rapes, gang rapes, bribery etc. under age girls is their favorite subject. Do we need such mullahs? They should be leading prayers in the mosques instead of delivering their rubbish ideas.

N-Feroze May 22, 2014 03:35pm

He looks brute by face

Sayeed Hussein May 22, 2014 03:36pm

Which century does this Mullah lives in and or what Quran does he read? Allah in his message to the ummah has said the woman has the right to choose or refuse and there special situations for a man to take a second wife. It is also said in the holy Quran that for a man to treat all his wives equally is not possible so it is better to only have one wife. At the age of nine how many children "yes Children" are able to make decisions. This paedophile should be put in a jail and keys to be thrown away. These Mullahs have created their own version of Islam. That is why they refused to teach Islamic values to the general public so that they can have their own sadistic ways.

Raj May 22, 2014 03:36pm

@a former Pakistani You ar wrong they are Saudi Educated

AHA May 22, 2014 03:39pm

We are getting what we had asked for, as simple as that.

We will never be able to address the root cause of these problems.

Asad May 22, 2014 03:43pm

Chaired by a man from JUI-F - says it all. Not interested in reading further, bunch of opportunists!

AHA May 22, 2014 03:49pm

@Azam "The beauty of Islam is that it has adapted to different lands and through different eras".

So true. I wish the majority of us all agreed with you. Unfortunately, they do not.

AHA May 22, 2014 03:52pm

@anil This is not Islam. The true Islamic spirit dies about 1,000 years ago when the 'literal followers' started becoming our religious scholars.

Naveed A. Jami May 22, 2014 03:55pm

If such are the intentions such old people they should be deprived of their manhood, medically.

Rash May 22, 2014 04:01pm

What I find amazing is that only a father or a grandfather can arrange a minor child's marriage and mother of the child has no say in it. After carrying the child for 9 months and taking care of the child for all her/his life, a mother has no say in the future of the child, never mind the wishes of the poor child.

Dixit May 22, 2014 04:31pm

@Mira Please learn good from good and not bad from bad.

jabbar kazmi May 22, 2014 04:42pm


naghman May 22, 2014 04:57pm

ban this organization

Pasha Maaz May 22, 2014 06:03pm

He is right. All Muslims should stick to Islamic principles.

NORI May 22, 2014 07:25pm

Big step towards stone age!!

I am sad that Dr.Ramesh, a Hindu MNA, approached these men for support against forcible conversions of Hindus.. After reading this, I know what CII will say. What a pity !!

MrBlonde May 22, 2014 07:36pm

I suspect there might be a foreign hand in this!

Sara May 22, 2014 08:13pm

@SHB ...No way to send him back to school. Just look at his views. He has all the potential to harass children as he thinks there is no age limit for marriage. He can say that a 100 years old baba can marry a 9 years old.........My fingers tremble writing this nonsense.

Abrar May 22, 2014 10:26pm

Until these type of clerics are among us we do not move forward to progress in any field.

Chacha Jee May 23, 2014 01:07am

Shame on you Sheerani. Live a life man, this twenty-first century.

Babbarsher Khan May 23, 2014 01:18am

We hereby appoint Maulana Mohammad Khan Sheerani as Commander in Chief of our jihadi force in this ongoing "clash of civilizations"!

Abdul Malik May 23, 2014 02:12am

@a former Pakistani absolutely, you can say that again...shame on these mullahs

Abdul Malik May 23, 2014 02:13am

These mullahs are not just highly uneducated but they are a third class breed of any human being. They have no character. Shame on them !

Aysha May 23, 2014 02:57am

Do these mullahs know that muslim youth in west is turning towards atheism due to these stone age laws? And look at the poll results, 24% of so called educated pakistanis who read DAWN are approving this law. We are doomed.

Dr. Sehar Khan May 23, 2014 03:25am

@Hassan ... Well Said!!!

Dr. Sehar Khan May 23, 2014 03:26am

@Falak ... Great:) Excellent Point...

Dr. Sehar Khan May 23, 2014 03:28am

That is the reason Muslim World is a complete mess... in other words "Curse of God."

Dr. Sehar Khan May 23, 2014 03:33am

@Sarcastic Muslim ... Wow!!! What a offer, very obedient son in law, and full of energy too.

Dr. Sehar Khan May 23, 2014 03:39am

@Nuur Hasan ... Yes, we muslim love to marry young girl, dream of every muslim man, young, young very young girl, chooti bachi.... Rape in the name of religion..."legal rape"

Dr. Sehar Khan May 23, 2014 03:42am

Root cause of the problem is "Lust"

Thoughtful May 23, 2014 03:44am

It is surprising that in this age and time a group of ignorant people are talking such rubbish and people are listening. These people should be arrested and tried for advocating legalization of rape. Unfortunately, in a Muslim majority country like Pakistan such criminals will get by unpunished.

Mu'mina May 23, 2014 04:00am

Will the kind CII please rather push the issue of EDUCATION in PAK?!! Or are you really willing to dump your country after only 60 years by refusing to grow responsible, educated and devout generations? Let the girls study! let them do the ibadah of learning and studying!

Akil Akhtar May 23, 2014 04:54am

Its time we ban these mullah committees, they have no role in a civilized society.

M N May 23, 2014 05:06am

@Nuur Hasan JUI F are allies of PML N. In the past, JUI F were allies of JI, and Musharraf government too.

goodDeedsLeadTo May 23, 2014 05:38am

Don't underestimate this baba. He must be a lot more educated than many degree holders. Education is in the mind, not class rooms, library, Library is only a repository. Classroom is a place to learn, which you cannot do without alertness, mental maturity, no matter what. Rote is not education. Information is not about being educated. Knowledge & wisdom is education. Ability to decide, ability to find solution to an unknown problem is education. Wisdom means, you have a clarity of mind, why certain thing should be done in a certain way, the underlying cause. Knowledge is knowing how to do it from scratch, take on challenge. I am sure, this baba must be wise & knowledgeable, in his own right, may be a lot more than us with even Masters & Ph.D's from accredited American University, as is my case. Never dismiss anyone. It is foolish.

Adam May 23, 2014 06:05am

@Azam mullah is only doing his job. This has everything to do with Islam. 33:50 allows man to have 4 wives. No where in Quran it is said that man need to get wife's permission or that a minor girl cannot marry.

hilal May 23, 2014 07:30am

well its appalling statement by this man. such laws will never be implemented in their own families. this is a futile act because now people are aware of such mullahs but our rural areas need awareness. please just say no to such things. nine year KID must be in class 3,4 or 5, shame on us

rasheedchina May 23, 2014 08:08am

Height if illiteracy ..... title is enough to read, no need to read all ....

mzm May 23, 2014 08:33am

one is surprised and deeply shocked to see such decisions...instead of discussing the core issues which society is facing like sectarianism,extremism...CII is simply discussing issues which are of no more public interest...From this, the poor vision and mindset of these people can be judged....

Ajay vikram Singh May 23, 2014 09:05am


mazhar May 23, 2014 09:27am

@a former Pakistani Shame on you for following them

Indian May 23, 2014 09:31am

There are people like these in India and Pakistan. As long as these people exist, we will never be developed nations. God save us from these idiots

Sarwar May 23, 2014 10:18am

What a joke of CII regarding current marriage legislation. Quran clearly demands the maturity ( both physical,and mental),and mutual consents from both parties for legal marriage contract. How can a female of 9 years know about her social-life- choices, and on what grounds she can understand the conditions given in marriage contact certificate. We must need to understand the needs of time,and society. According to Quran, marriage is totally illegal without mutual consent of both partners,and maturity of both partners.Therefore, Nikah of a minor is not a Nikah according to the Quran. The Quran associates Nikah with adulthood (4:6). The second condition of the contract is that it should be executed without coercion and should have the consent of both the parties. So, on the one hand men are addressed as follows in (4:3) to perform Nikah with those women whom you like, and on the other hand, about women, it says that it would be absolutely unlawful for you to own women forcibly (4:19). First sentence of this news on news paper shows clearly that we have not become successful to set true criteria/authority for assessing who is right or wrong.

Samad Chaudhry May 23, 2014 10:37am

May Allah grant them some wisdom!"

Azhar May 23, 2014 12:28pm

@Indian lucky for us Indians, people like these cannot influence our parliament.cannot say the same for Pakistan.

M N May 23, 2014 01:23pm

@Adam What you talking about? Are you sane? As per your logic, a minor girl (even younger than 9) can marry, because the Quran DOES NOT SAY so. What a logic?

Kabeer May 23, 2014 02:57pm

Same as Hindu religion wherein underage marriage is also allowed

Kabeer May 23, 2014 03:03pm

@Mian Shahid Mehmood Yes you are right as we have already solved all other issues and we have no other issue left to be solved therefore Mulana did a marvelous job without this injuction our country would not get its rightfull place in the league of nations

independentthinker May 24, 2014 01:10am

@A Rehman Pakistan has an abundance of "crazy" people. No wonder we can't progress!

Kabeer May 24, 2014 11:28am

Such Mullahs are blotch on the face of humanity and what a democratic government who awarded this important position to such a ignorant person just to gain political support at the cost of reputation of Islam all around the world

huma May 24, 2014 06:18pm

@independentthinker intermarriages have bred these "crazy" people

independentthinker May 24, 2014 07:17pm

@huma Intermarriages in Pakistan?